Towards Reynosa, one of the most dangerous cities in Mexico, are expelled daily from USA dozens of migrants, who, exhausted from the journey and disillusioned at not having the opportunity to seek asylum, are left at a crossroads about where to go now.

Marisela Ramírez, who was left in this city around 4 a.m. last Thursday, brought her 14-year-old son and left five other children – one only 8 months old – in Guatemala because he couldn’t pay the smugglers any more money.

Now, facing another harrowing choice, he was inclined to send his son alone across the border to settle with a sister in Missouri, aware that USA it is allowing unaccompanied children to apply for asylum.

“We are in the hands of God”, Ramírez, 30, said in an arid park with dying grass and a large gazebo in the center that serves as a refuge for migrants.

Lesdny Suyapa Castillo, 35, tearfully said that he would return to Honduras with his 8-year-old daughter, who lay under the gazebo breathing heavily with her eyes partially open and flies circling her face.

After not being paid for three months of work as a nurse in Honduras during the pandemic, she wants a stable job in the USA to send an older daughter to medical school. A friend from New York encouraged her to try again.

“I would love to go, but a mother does not want to see her son in this condition”, she said after they left her in Reynosa at 10 pm.

These deportations unfold amid what US Border Patrol officials USA They say it is an extraordinarily high 30-day average of 5,000 daily encounters with illegal migrants.

Children traveling alone are allowed to stay in the USA to apply for asylum, while almost all single adults are expelled to Mexico under the rules of the pandemic era that deny them the opportunity to seek humanitarian protection.

Families with children under the age of 7 are allowed to stay in the USA to apply for asylum, according to a Border Patrol official who spoke to reporters Friday on condition of anonymity. Other family members are expelled.

Reynosa, a city of 700,000, is where many migrants are returned after being expelled from the Rio Grande Valley of Texas, the most heavily traveled corridor for illegal crossings.

The Border Patrol has said that the vast majority of migrants are expelled to Mexico after less than two hours in the USA to limit the spread of COVID-19, which means that many are deported at night.

In normal times, migrants are returned to Mexico under bilateral agreements that limit deportations to daylight hours and to larger cities. But under the conditions of a pandemic, Mexicans and citizens of Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras can be expelled to Mexico at night and in smaller towns.

Border Patrol Chief Rodney Scott acknowledged in an interview last year that agreements limiting times and places for deportations are on hold. “on the paper”But he said US authorities are trying to accommodate the wishes of Mexican officials.

The authorities of USA they also coordinate with non-governmental organizations.

“I would never sit here and look at you and say that Tijuana is not dangerous, Juárez is not dangerous, Tamaulipas (state) is not dangerous”, dijo Scott.

“However, much of it is like any other city in USA. There are certain cities in the US in which there are areas that are very dangerous and there are areas that are not ”, he opined.

Tamaulipas, which includes Reynosa, is among the five Mexican states that the Department of State of USA says that US citizens should not visit. A travel advisory says heavily armed criminal groups patrol Reynosa in identified and unidentified vehicles.

More than 100 fathers, mothers and children who were expelled overnight waited in a plaza in front of the Mexican border crossing at dawn on Saturday, many bitter about the experience and afraid to venture into the city.

Several said they left Central America in the past two months because they could finally afford it, but information on the president’s most immigrant-friendly policies Joe Biden contributed to their decisions.

Some reported paying smugglers up to $ 10,000 per person to reach US soil.

Michel Maeco, who sold his land in Guatemala to pay smugglers $ 35,000 to bring his family of five, including 15, 11 and 7-year-olds, said he was going home after a 25-day trip. He left Guatemala after hearing “in the news” that Biden would allow families to enter USA.

Maeco’s family was expelled to the streets of Reynosa at 3 am on Saturday.

“Supposedly (Biden) I was going to help the migrants, but I don’t see anything ”, Maeco, 36, said.

A Honduran woman who declined to give her name said she left two months ago because her home was destroyed by Tropical Storm Eta and she heard that Biden “Open the border” for 100 days, not knowing that the president’s 100-day moratorium on deportations – suspended by the courts – does not cover newcomers.

She planned to send her 9-year-old daughter and 12-year-old son to live alone with her aunt in Alabama while she returns to Honduras.

Underscoring the dangers, the Border Patrol said Friday that a 9-year-old Mexican girl died crossing the Rio Grande near the city of Eagle Pass.

The Mexican migrant protection agency, Grupo Beta, persuaded many people who arrived during the night to take them by bus to a distant shelter.

The crowds in the nearby park had decreased from a few hundred migrants days earlier.

Felicia Rangel, founder of the Sidewalk School, which provides educational opportunities to asylum-seeking children in Mexican border cities, sees the ingredients needed for a migrant camp to be formed in Reynosa as in the one that formed in the nearby city of Matamoros, and that was recently closed.

“If they manage to establish themselves in this roundabout, this will become a camp”, he said as a church distributed chicken soup, bread and water to migrants for breakfast. “They don’t want another camp in their country”, explained.

Martín Vásquez is among the migrants who remain for now. The 19-year-old was expelled after being separated from his 12-year-old brother, who was considered an unaccompanied child and will almost certainly be turned over to a grandfather in Florida. He said he was willing to go back to Guatemala, where he worked for a moving company, but wanted to wait a bit. “To see what the news says”.

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